The Mattapoisett Fourth of July 5-mile race is one of those races where you never know who’s going to show up on race day.
But this year we know that the defending champion will definitely be back for Tuesday’s race, and maybe the runner-up, too. The defending champ is Jason Eddy, formerly of Rochester and now residing in East Bridgewater. The runner-up is Taylor Days-Merrill of Fairhaven.
We think Days-Merrill will be back, but we know Eddy will run the race, barring a broken leg or some other crippling injury or illness. This is the race for Eddy. As he said after winning the race for the second time last year, “This is always the biggest race of the year for me.”
That’s because he’s an Old Rochester Regional graduate and a recipient of a college scholarship from the Mattapoisett race (proceeds from the race are awarded to college-bound ORR runners).
Eddy, whose other Mattapoisett win was in 2013, also has a friendly rivalry going with Days-Merrill in local races. Days-Merrill won their most recent meeting in the Fairhaven 10k two Sundays ago, while Eddy struggled to a fourth place finish, another reason he will likely be fired up for Tuesday’s race.
Eddy is hoping the deja vu from last year continues at Mattapoisett. He finished fifth in the Fairhaven 10k last year, but redeemed himself in the Mattapoisett race two weeks later with his best race of the year, winning the five-miler in 26:50.9, 36 seconds ahead of Days-Merrill (27:26.9).
The third member of what we christened the “Top Five Trio,” Michael Vaz of Dartmouth, has yet to run the Mattapoisett race, but remains a possibility on Tuesday.
Another possibility is Andrew Sukeforth of Middleboro, who won the Marion Village 5k last weekend and the Day of Portugal 5k three weeks ago.
The women’s defending champion Tuesday is Kim Bolick, 24, of Marion who now lives in the Boston area. She overtook early leader Meg Hughes of Rochester last year to win by 23 seconds over runner-up Hughes.
Hughes is coming off her second Fairhaven 5k victory with a time of 18:33. She knows the Mattapoisett course and will definitely be a factor if she chooses to run Tuesday.
The race starts (9 am.) and finishes at Shipyard Park at the town wharf. Post-entry fee Tuesday is $30. Early number pickup will be Monday, 7:30-8:30 p.m. at Shipyard Park.
While Sukeforth was showing the way in the men’s race at the 20th running of the Marion 5k last week, Heather Mahoney, 34, of Westford was running away with the women’s crown.
In a field absent of the usual local leaders, Mahoney took charge en route to a 20-second victory with a time of 19:36.
Biliana Mihaylova of Quincy was second in 19:56, followed by Emily Josephson of Rochester (20:33); Rebecca Cotugno of North Dartmouth (20:49), and Lauren Fereshetian of Marion (21:01).
Former road race queen Anne Preisig, 49, of Falmouth was sixth in 21:19.
Finishing second to Sukeforth (16:04) in the men’s race was Vaz in 16:26. Rounding out the top Five were Ryan O’Connell of Middleboro, third in 16:31; Chris Mahoney of Westford (husband of Heather), 16:41, and Cody Gibney of New Bedford, 17:38.
Age category winners among the women included 10-year-old Camri Vanness of Rochester, (13-and-under) 28:40; Isabelle Cheney of Marion (14-18), 22:00; Cotugno (30-39); Preisig (40-49); Danielle Murray, 50, of Marion (50-59), 26:29, and Ann Fournier of Dartmouth (70-and-over), 34:48.
Included among the men’s age category winners were Tristan Brown of Middleboro (13-and-under), 27:02; Evan Tilley of Rochester 14-18), 19:01; Vaz (19-29); Mahoney (30-39), 16:41; Curtis Moreira of Marion (40-49), 20:50; Scott Anderson of Fairhaven (50-59), 17:51; P.J. Costa of New Bedford (60-69), 22:45, and Woody Wilson of Westport (70-and-over), 29:02.
Feast 5k on Aug. 5
The 18th annual Feast of the Blessed Sacrament 5k, which runs in consort with the 103rd Feast, takes place Saturday, Aug. 5 at 10 a.m.
Registration fee is $20 except for race day when it goes up to $25. Take note that registration for this race this year is limited to on-line and race day. The on-line deadline is Aug. 4 at 12:01 a.m.
The race, which is presented by Club Madeirense SS Sacramento Inc., starts and finishes at the Club Madeirense at 50 Madeira Ave, New Bedford.
Cash awards of $250, $150, and $75 will go to the top three men and women, with medals for the top three men and women in the age categories, from 14-and-under to 70-and-over. There will also be a prize for the top Club Madeirense member.
For more information, go to www.feastoftheblessedsacrament.com.
One week after the Feast race is the 11th annual Rochester Road Race on Aug. 12 at 9 a.m. More on that race later.
Bob Hanna covers road racing for The Standard-Times. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org